Composed in 1944, this work is in three movements with a partial recapitulation of the first, followed by a short coda. The tonalities of the three movements are A mixolydian, E dorian and G ionian. It is composed throughout in thematic technique, that is to say each motive of both the leading melodic line and the accompanying parts is derived from one or other of the main themes.
Thus, in the first movement, the whole material of the piano accompaniment of the first violin phrase is derived from the motive of the violin part, which does not occur, however, until the 21st bar; in the second movement all three voice parts of the piano accompaniment to the first section, lasting 25 bars, are developed from the first two notes of the violin melody of this movement. This method has no relation to serial style: there are no rigidly recurrent sequences of intervals. Every note is, however, organised thematically as well as harmonically and rhythmically.
It is a work for violin solo in the sense that all the main themes are given in the first instance to the violin, the piano being allotted an accompanying role throughout.
The first performance was given by Max Rostal (violin), for whom it was composed, with Alan Bush (piano), at the Queen Mary Hall, London on 6 January 1945.
Writing of this performance, the Strad (Feb/March 1945) wrote that the title of Alan Bush's work, a "Lyric Interlude" for violin and piano, is rather misleading. "It is not in the accepted sense of the term lyric in character, nor is it quite just to call a work of such length an Interlude....This 'Lyric Interlude' is really a sonata of somewhat unconventional design and with a violin part of more than usual complexity and difficulty...The impression left by this performance was a very good one; though rather bleak in character, the music is obviously the product of a genuine impulse and shows fertility of invention".
It was dedicated to the composer's wife, Nancy Bush.